... now they must watch their abundance of luxuries fall away, making room for the tools of survival, and witness this time of relative peace wither into the same fears that harper's ballads had warned them about for generations.
 
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 the Swords Master's visit

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Eloaene

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PostSubject: the Swords Master's visit   Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:02 am


Three days after they'd arrived back to Telgar River Hold, things were feeling a bit more back to normal. Toshiro on the other hand, was becoming exceedingly restless, having tried to escape the infirmary just the day before. Luckily, Ariadne had talked some sense into him and he remained. His body was still fighting infection in the wound and obviously such a garish stab wound hadn't healed yet. Since they'd been giving him numbweed salve and fellis though, he seemed to forget the pain his body was in and had a tendency to want to over exert himself.

For today, so far, he'd been behaving himself because Ariadne had lingered around and even brought him lunch earlier. His mood was always more -almost frighteningly chipper- when she was around, now that he was feeling better. The light trace of fellis or alcohol in his drinks also helped keep him under control.

Unexpectedly, a guest had arrived for him though, and that sobered him and drew out a completely new side of him that no one had probably ever seen before. Their honourable guest was his adoptive father, the Commander of the Guard. The same man who served as his teacher and Swords Master.



Having heard of the kidnapping and that a handful of the Guard had been ordered to carry out a rescue mission, the Commander of the Guard went immediately on dragon back to await their return. Over the past couple of days since their return he'd been reviewing details of events with Rihan and the guardsmen who'd been present that evening. Commander Kondo hadn't revealed his whereabouts to his adopted son and student, because he knew that Toshiro needed to focus on healing his body.

There was certainly something to be said about the fact that Toshiro would need to regain his strength to face his Swords Master. (enter maniacal laugh here)


When the conversation began between the two, Kondo and Toshiro, it could be heard throughout the infirmary; and of course all kinds of rumour had quickly spread that the Commander of the Guard had come to visit a patient.

“You idiot!” It didn’t matter if he’d been wounded or not, if they were being overheard by others or not, the Commander was livid. “I can’t believe my own student could be so reckless! I thought I taught you better than that! Now look at you! Look at the damage you’ve caused!”

There was definitely anger, but there was also a certain amount of hurt in the Commander’s eyes as he tore Toshiro’s ego down to size. And it didn't take him long to do it either.

Like a child being reprimanded, Shiro stuttered, “B-but I had orders!” It might have almost been comical to see the Captain treated like a child in the face of his Sword Master. Whether most people knew it, Toshiro was still a student who had never formally completed his training, and this was also his veritable father figure he was speaking to -but to be reprimanded by his Swords Master was far more intimidating.

Most people feared Toshiro as one of the most skilled swordsman in Telgar; who paused to wonder if there was a Swords Master even greater? Likely none had ever seen him overshadowed by anyone. Nor was it likely anyone had ever caught anyone else brave enough to talk down to him. What a sight it must have been!


The Commander stood before Toshiro's bed, a much larger man, looking hardened by life's difficulties. His uniform was a bit different than the usual Midnight Blue that most were used to; his uniform was detailed very simply and much of it was white. Most of the deep blue that could be seen was along the bottom hems and the hems of his sleeves in triangular 'mountain' pattern. Completely unmoved in his very stern expression, Kondo went on, accepting no excuses from his student-son, “I don’t care who ordered you to do what! It was YOU who was fool enough to follow the order!”

Commander Kondo had a great deal of respect for the Holders of Telgar and his life had been spent in service to them, but he'd also spent his life as a tempering agent to talk sense into the Holders when things came to a head, and to minimize the bloodshed there could have been in turns prior, when awful events would have otherwise threatened to draw perhaps the entire territory into conflict. A very wise man who truly understood the value of man's life, Kondo had always been cautious about lending his Sword skills to anyone -which is why he'd decided to dedicate himself to raising and training Toshiro.

Having thought that he could bring Toshiro up to be a wise, strong man also, Kondo taught him a very special set of skills that he taught no one else. That was -in part- the very reason that Toshiro had been able to surpass other Guards in their training and at such a young age, the Hold awarded him Master status. In comparison to others, he was a master of his craft. But that didn't mean he knew everything.


Apparently, Toshiro was bound to be in trouble no matter whose orders he followed. If Toshiro didn’t carry out Rihan's orders, he was disobeying his superiors, and if he did carry out the order, he was disobeying his Sword Master. Great. Just great. Either way, he was in for it. Decidedly, Toshiro thought he'd much rather be in trouble with Rihan than his Master.

Shifting uncomfortably to sit up even straighter in his bed, Toshiro even argued like a kid since he was being talked down to like one. Every word became a grumble under his breath. “Do you have to be such a nuisance? We're in the middle of the infirmary. Anyway, Rihan’s plan was brilliant and everything detail of it worked out in the end.”

Tone of voice still raised, Kondo hardly let him finish, “You've always been so eager to fight, you brat! Always selfish. It doesn't matter what his plan was. You're the one that sold your skills to him! And now you've lost yourself, haven't you?”


The two of them scowled at each other, Toshiro always shy of meeting his Master's stare for long. Somehow he knew Kondo was right. Averting his gaze, turning his attention across the room as he did, Kondo wasn't going let his adopted son escape the rest of his wrath, “You should be more respectful, you know? You say you've sworn to protect Heir Apparent Rihan and you still won't even use his title appropriately to address him. I don't even want to think about what I really assume is going on between the two of you -why you really want to follow after Young Lord Rihan.” In all truth, Kondo suspected it was because Toshiro wanted all along, for Rihan to cut him loose like he'd done on their rescue mission. And finally Toshiro had gotten what he wanted.


Toshiro was so angry and hurt by his Sword Master's words he opted wisely to say nothing at all. Though he did still sit in bed with his arms folded across his chest with indignance.

“See what I mean? When did you turn so stubborn? You are so full of pride and arrogance.” Commander Kondo's words weren't even accusing; he pointedly told Toshiro exactly how he was being, which cut Toshiro even deeper, because he knew that what Kondo said was true. And it hurt him more hearing it from Kondo than to hear it from anyone else.

Toshiro’s gaze lifted to his Swords Master offering bold words in return, in some meager way attempting to defend himself, “Because of my sword, Telgar’s peace has been secured! I only killed the men who would have ruined this territory. Lady Eolyn would be dead and you, of course, can guess what would happen next.”

“Pride and arrogance!” The Commander's voice boomed as he glowered over his student who could only continue to frown in displeasure, feeling utterly misunderstood by his father figure. But Kondo was furious, and it was better that he was cutting Toshiro's ego in two.

Lowering his voice a notch then, Kondo's anger was no less evident as he addressed his pupil more quietly. “You quit coming to train with me, because you wanted to be strong on your own. You were arrogant enough to think that you could use my teachings in your own way and not get hurt. You thought you could make a difference in the world around you by selling yourself out and letting them tell you you were Justified in your killings!! You let them use you! I did not train you so that you could be used! Your skills are far too important for that!

"And did you ever really think that violence ever created peace? Do you really think that’s all I ever taught you, just because you held a sword in your hand?!”

Finally, Toshiro bit back, “All you ever did was hide yours! You have a sword and you won't even use it! You are strong and you have the ability to save people’s lives by destroying the evil that threatens us -which is what I did! But you won't do that! So, who’s the bigger hypocrite?” Seething by that point, Toshiro was hardly aware that their loud conversation had been getting quite some attention yet none had been bold enough in the Master Healer's absence to step up and tell them to quiet down.

At that moment, as Toshiro talked back to him, it may have seemed as though Commander Kondo wanted to lay into him, but the man was much more gentle than he appeared, even if his gaze was incredibly fierce. Kondo's was a gaze sharp enough to pierce the shell of the most hardened of men, so it didn't take much effort to pierce and see right through his adopted son's defenses, “Once we lend our skills to participate in conflict, even if it is to protect someone, we are forced to choose one side of that conflict or the other. At that point, we have become a part of war.

"Most people believe that only one side of a conflict can be truly at fault. Most would believe that their side is Right, the other is Wrong. But that is an egotistical illusion we create for ourselves and it is not true to life.

"When it comes to bloodshed, both sides are inherently at fault. Taking a man's life can never be Right, no matter what the reason.“


A measure of the Commander’s frustration with his student seemed to fade then, but his expression was no less grave. “When did I fail you? Did I not teach you better? Did I not teach you better than to desire the slaughtering of men?"

Kondo paused for a moment, his face suddenly seeming more than its age, filled with worry and grief. "I have not even finished training you...yet If blood is all that you thirst after, then I will put an end to the corruption that has come of my teachings! I will bring the life of my student to an end, because he is not worthy of the things I have tried to pass on.”

Heaving those words, Toshiro's jaw dropped, but he quickly snapped it shut. Arms falling back to his sides from where they'd been crossed over his chest, he hardly knew what to say. He felt utterly abandoned at that moment. He wanted nothing more than to curl up and be consumed by the darkness he felt inside. The one man he'd ever truly hoped by be loved by, the man he'd only ever wanted to call father, had such little faith in him? Toshiro wanted to crawl after him and beg, not for his life, but for forgiveness because he knew that he'd become an utter disappointment to his adoptive father. The shock of this realization was all over Toshiro's expression.

“Consider what I have said. I will come back to you in the future to see if there has been any change in you.” Commander Kondo turned to leave his student-son’s side, “If there is change, then I will finish training you when I come back. If there is no change in you though,...if I find any weakness in you,... I will end everything for you.”


One thing was for certain as the Swords Master moved through the infirmary to make his exit. There was a reason Kondo was Telgar Guard’s Commander: he commanded absolute respect and authority -perhaps even greater than that of Lord Rihan as he was now- so there was no question that he would carry out the promise of his words on that day he would return.


The visit with Kondo had left Toshiro in an emotional upheaval. He was failing his father, the one man he truly cared about more than anyone. He was failing his teachings and if he continued to be a disappointment, he would be put to death for it. Toshiro understood the why and how of it, but it infuriated him. He infuriated himself.

Reaching for a half-bottle of liquor left on his bedside table, Toshiro threw it against the wall, shattering liquid and glass in a spray while shouting in a release of his anger. Though the movement pained his side, he turned again, this time getting up from his bed. Two more containers went flying against the wall and then he scattered everything else on the bedside table to the floor. "AAAAAHHHHHHH!"

He was ruining everything again! Toshiro felt like a failure. Was he such a disappointment to everyone?!

For the first time, Toshiro was so conflicted inside he didn't care if he cried in front of anyone. Tears streamed down his face and he dropped to his knees, bending his torso to rest his hands on the cold stone floor. And if it wasn't the first time someone had seen him cry, then it was certainly the first time anyone had heard him say these words, "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. Forgive me. I don't want to fail you." The words were broken up by his tears, perhaps years of un-shed grief being drawn out of him after his Swords Master had so effectively cracked his shell.


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PostSubject: Re: the Swords Master's visit   Mon Mar 04, 2013 9:25 pm


On the request of the Master Healer, Ariadne had left the infirmary to retrieve some supplies from the closet near the kitchens. They often ran out of room in their own storage area and took up some of the much larger closets near the kitchens for herbs. While she was there though, someone leaned their head in, “Huge commotion in the Infirmary, you should check it out.” The other drudge was scampering off down the hallway before she could get any more information off of him.

As much as Ariadne loved to hear the latest gossip she didn’t have time to indulge her curiosity. Once she finished gathering up what was needed though, she was off to the infirmary. Although she had been hoping it wasn’t anything bad to do with Toshiro she had a sinking feeling that it would be.

The Sword Master of Telgar Hold walked passed her as she made her way through the halls. She arrived in the infirmary in time to hear shattering glass and shouting. Many of the drudges came running out of the infirmary, Lyria behind them. “Better give him his space.” The healer said to Ariadne who shook her head. “What happened?” She asked Lyria who seemed reluctant to talk about it.

Lyria’s answer was not comforting, “The Sword Master lectured him badly about his actions during the rescue. But he saved the lives of the two ladies. I don’t know why the master came down on him so hard. He is not taking it well at all.” Pausing and looking at the other drudges. “How about you all go do something useful like laundry, see you in a couple of candlemarks.”

The only person she was allowing to stay was Ariadne and that was because she was sending her in first. For some reason the patient liked Ari the best and he would be more likely to calm down with her there. Setting the basket of herbs down in front of Lyria she walked in to the infirmary. The last thing Toshiro needed was space. He’d been left on his own too much for most of his life, he didn’t need any more alone time. Her steps were quiet as she approached him. Ariadne did not say anything at first, simply walked up to him and placed her had on his back reassuringly.

“Toshiro.” She said softly, removing her hand from his back to move in front of him. She did not want to make him feel weak or that he needed her help but the floor was covered in shattered glass and it didn’t look all that comfortable. Holding out her hand for him to pull himself up with she said, “Come with me.” It was not so much a command as a request. They needed to get out of the infirmary but he was not permitted to do anything strenuous and a walk was going to be too much. Just getting him out of this room though would allow them to clean it and allow him time to cool off not under the eyes of so many gossips.


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PostSubject: Re: the Swords Master's visit   Tue Mar 05, 2013 6:29 pm



Hardly aware that Ariadne approached him, he was surprised when a hand touched on his back and was exceptionally glad that it was Ariadne who was there to try to comfort him. Though...he never thought he'd lose control like that, and hated to know that Ariadne had seen him like this. It couldn't be any worse than his condition over the last few days though, so he didn't try to push her away. For a long moment he remained where he was at, squeezing his eyes closed as he growled inwardly in continued frustration.

Finally he turned his head enough to glance side-long up in consideration of the hand offered him. Still angry enough he would rather ignore the gesture and remain on the floor to wallow in his grief, or perhaps even go on bringing a whirlwind of destruction to the room, he hesitated to take Ari's hand at first. When he did, Toshiro took her hand tentatively, making sure he was in control of himself again before clasping it more firmly. Taking his time getting to his feet, he let his hand linger where it held her own; but shortly, he let it go.

Standing there, he felt foolish. He felt like a child before his mother, fearing to be admonished, fearing being told he was a disappointment. Toshiro imagined that Ariadne could only think such terrible things of him now, seeing that he'd let himself lose control. How terribly foolish. And only a child would act as he had.

It was true though, that Toshiro was probably more childlike in certain ways than he would ever own up to; ironically it was probably due to the fact that, as a child, he'd been made to grow up much faster than a child should and was denied many of the things that typically were thought to make happy children.


Conflicted in his emotions with his current situation, he had nothing to say just then to Ariadne. Feeling as though he should speak up at that point however, his words were marked with apathy in a soft utterance under his breath, "Take me."

Would it have been wrong to read more into the meaning of those two words? Toshiro was certainly feeling broken and helpless at the moment. Likely, if someone had wanted to kill him, then at that very moment they should have taken their chances; in his current state of mind, there was no promise he would have stopped them. SInce he'd stood, he had only briefly looked into her eyes and now he'd averted his gaze again, looking moody as ever while he waited for her to lead the way to wherever it was she wanted to take them.




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PostSubject: Re: the Swords Master's visit   Sat Mar 09, 2013 8:50 pm


Ariadne found it hard to see him so upset and angry. She did not think any less of him but was surprised at his show of emotion. He had always been very good at concealing his emotions. Although she had not thought past getting him out from the eyes and ears of the gossips of the Weyr, she did know they were going to put some distance between him and the infirmary. He probably should not be going on a trek just now but she was not going to let his injury keep him from being emotionally stable.

She held onto his hand firmly, making sure he understood she was not going to let go. They walked out of the infirmary into the bustling hallway. There were a number of drudges who had decided cleaning that particular hallway was important right this moment. Lyria had gone to find the Master Healer so she could not disperse the drudges as she had a little while ago.

There were plenty of quiet places here at Telgar River Hold but Ariadne thought of one that might have more meaning for him. They were walking toward the Barracks, which he was sure to note and not be happy about at first. However as she led on, she led him to the very place he had taken her to when she needed to talk to someone. The training grounds were a good place for him to be anyway, so she led on, up the stairs he had taken her to previously.

She sat down on a step, not making him sit too but thinking it might be more comfortable. “Do you want to tell me what happened?” She asked softly, not forcing the topic on him if he was not prepared to talk about it.


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PostSubject: Re: the Swords Master's visit   Sat Mar 09, 2013 9:50 pm



Following after Ariadne, Toshiro clasped her hand, though not as tightly as she held his. Speaking not a word the entire way, he was admittedly a little shocked to discover where she'd decided to take them, his mind searched for where the Guard would be and whether or not they would be training on these very grounds soon. Reviewing their schedule in his mind, he was glad to realize that he would have at least a candlemark with Ari alone before anyone should be showing up for any kind of practice.

So, instead of being argumentative with her like he could have been, Toshiro went to the top step near Ari and sat down so that his back could lean up against the giant pillar standing on one side of the stair case. His right knee drew up toward his chest part way while the other leg rested over the edge of the stair so that that foot could situate on the one below him; that way he could keep that side stretched out a little that it wouldn't discomfort him too greatly.

Though he heard her words and considered then, he was still upset enough he couldn't organize the words enough to speak; so he didn't. Toshiro felt like he was seeing red he was so angry with himself and so confused by his Master's visit. Folding his arms over his chest, Toshiro's eyes closed as he leaned his head back on the pillar behind him, feeling unable to accomplish anything else right at that moment because his emotions were a wreck.

That seeming moment of peace didn't last long however, because he opened his eyes again, looking out over the training grounds this time, considering many things all at once. That quickly triggered him again, causing him to lash out by clenching a fist and slamming it into the deck. The Captain's head bowed, eyes tightly closed as he gritted his teeth, growling out loud in a struggle through some great pain deep inside of him. Clenching his jaw then, he was silent, still slightly hunkered over in his posture, but it was evident that he still battled the hurt inside of him -he was just fighting for control of it. It was a long couple of minutes through several, gradually deepening breaths that he was able to calm himself enough to finally sit back upright. But his eyes did not open and his control was somewhat tentative.

Resting his head back again, he swallowed hard, still unable to organize a thought well enough to say anything. Then he wondered what good it would do? Ariadne was just trying to be nice by letting him vent, but would that help work out his problems? Toshiro wondered. Looking back at Ari again, another deep breath turned into a sigh, which seemed to be able to let at least a fraction of the tension go from his body. Troubled eyes watched her, wondering and at the same time, allowing her to once again be that fine point of light in his life that might bring some semblance of peace to him.

That's right...if he could focus on her...things could be better.


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PostSubject: Re: the Swords Master's visit   Sun Mar 10, 2013 7:58 am


When he didn’t answer she made no attempt to speak. If he wanted to talk they would be talking. Whatever emotional turmoil he was going through was not something he was ready to talk about. Ariadne had been there before and knew she would have preferred people to leave her alone in these instances than to push her into talking about it. He was working things out on his own. She hoped though that he would open up about things when he was ready. It was not healthy to keep everything inside although she was being a little hypocritical when she thought about it.

She closed her eyes too, letting the sun light warm her face as she face the sky. It was warmer in the sun. The peacefulness of the Training Grounds at this time was soothing. Getting away from the infirmary chaos had been her main goal, after stopping wagging tongues from watching him have his emotional outbursts. When she opened her eyes again to look over at him, she saw he was staring at her. Normally she wouldn’t mind but it felt like he wanted something from her in that stare.

Ari didn’t feel the need to say anything just yet. He was calming down she could see it in his posture. Although it had not dawned on her that she was the calming influence, instead she thought that this place was like a home to him and this spot specifically was a place he tended to think a lot. When he continued to look at her though, she thought perhaps she should break the silence. It was almost as if he wanted her to say something. Usually, she was quite easy to talk with and came up with conversations easily. Right now though, she was not sure there was anything she could say that would make him feel any better about what was going on inside of him.

“I wish I knew how to help you through this.” She said quietly. Ariadne thought perhaps he was looking to her for the answers. Sometimes there was nothing to be done. Sometimes there was no way to help other people. She did not like being in those situations, it was in her nature to care. Ariadne enjoyed taking care of other people, she always had. In this way she was an excellent mother and friend. When she failed to help someone or to make them feel better, she felt like a failure. When people were broken it was nice to be able to help them fix themselves.


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PostSubject: Re: the Swords Master's visit   Sun Mar 10, 2013 9:56 am



Toshiro met Ari's eyes as long as she would hold them there and only broke his gaze away when she began speaking. Glancing back out over the training grounds and into the sky, he considered her words, unresponsive but for the deep breathing he continued to do. Those long minutes of his own silence burned in his mind, thinking himself rude for not acknowledging her, but it did help him quiet his thoughts enough to start to organize them.

"I don't want to be rude to you." It was a start at least, admitting as much to Ariadne. "I..don't know how much you overheard back there." Toshiro wasn't sure if she'd been there for the entire conversation he'd had with his Sword Master or not, so he jumped into things somewhere in between, figuring at least if he talked a little, it would ward away awkward or rude silences that he wanted to avoid with her. She had been kind enough to bring him all the way here anyway; there was no use in disparaging her good intentions.

Though he had decided to converse with her so as not to be rude, he wasn't sure just how much she wanted or needed to know. Adopting his usual casual attitude, he took an even more indolent pose when his right arm hung over his knee where it was upraised. "Swords are made to take the life of men. Nothing more. They have a simple and clear existence. I've always wanted to become like that. And I thought that Commander Kondo could teach me how to be like that..."

Pausing, Toshiro let his chin fall toward his chest, bringing his gaze back to the stairs. "In a way...maybe he did, but I find out now that he doesn't approve of the life that I've chosen. I just...I guess I just don't know what he expects of me. I quit training with him early to join the Guard because I wanted to help bring about a more peaceful and secure Telgar." But Kondo had been right; Toshiro had only let the Holds use him for their own purposes, even if they were only trying to accomplish something good.

"Kondo knows I've always been quick to rush into a fight in order to prove myself. I've always been a hot head and he gets mad at me for it; But not like today." Considering what his father figure had said to him during his visit, Toshiro thought he might be beginning to understand, but he was still not completely clear on just what the Commander expected of him. "He can't accept that I would kill someone...but he must have been right when he said that I have lost myself by doing so."

Sparks of rage entered his eyes again as his voice rose a little in anger, "I don't understand! How does he expect me to fight and not use my sword! How can I protect Telgar without killing her enemies?" Toshiro hung his head again, "If he were just any Sword Master it wouldn't be so bad. But Kondo is the Commander and my ...he's sort of my dad, so I can't let him down." His voice came in hardly more than a whisper then, "But I feel like I already have. And I don't know if there's any way to change that.

"He said if I haven't figured it all out by the time he returns here, he's going to kill me." Bringing his head back up, Toshiro laughed, seeming rather happy in light of that news though he knew it to be rather serious, "I guess that means I can go back to light Guard duty. No sense in worrying about healing if I'm going to be a dead man anyway."


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PostSubject: Re: the Swords Master's visit   Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:29 am

The truth was, she hadn’t heard any of it but she allowed him to continue without her admission. He would be much more likely to explain how he was feeling if she let him get it all out. She listened intently to his words, knowing it was better not to interrupt but all the while wanting to reassure him that she was not so easily swayed by other people’s opinions. He went on, uninterrupted by her. She could see the disappointment, the confusion and the rage flit across his features, entering and exiting quickly. He was not sure how to feel other than to be frustrated and allow himself to be full of rage.

When he finished, she finally spoke, “I didn’t hear any of what he said.” She hadn’t been there for it, only to see the after math. “I did not know Swordmaster Kondo was here until he was halfway down the hall, leaving the infirmary. Someone told me there was something going on in the infirmary and I rushed back because I was worried.” She paused, hoping she wasn’t overstepping his boundaries, “Masters and parents always want what is best for their children and apprentices. They push us harder than anyone else because they know we can handle it. He would not have issued a request of that nature if he thought you were incapable.”

She got up and sat directly in front of him. “Toshiro, you are not a sword. You were not brought into the world only to kill. A sword’s purpose is to kill yes but a man’s purpose is to decide when to kill and when to show mercy. The way to win a battle is not always through combat. Sometimes you have to learn when it is okay to let diplomacy work first. “ She reached for both of his hands and tried to hold them gently.

“Evander used to say that men who fought fell into two categories. Men who fought for the pure joy of seeing the life go out of men and receiving the glory that came with it. And men who fought to defend something they truly cared about. The latter group consisted of the men who knew when to show mercy, they knew what was worth fighting for and what was worth dying for. I think your Master wants you to fall into the second category and right now you are acting like someone in the first. Killing people should not be done joyfully. Life should be sacred, even the lives of people who don’t seem to deserve it. Who are you to dictate why a man should or should not live?”

She was trying to help him understand but she wondered for a brief moment if her words might only be making things worse. "You need to find the one thing that makes your life have meaning and you need to fight for that one thing and not for yourself. If that thing is to unify and bring peace to Telgar then fight like that is why you are fighting not as though taking a life brings you pleasure."

There was a pause before she addressed his comment on light guard duty. “Oh no you are not. Lyria wants you in the infirmary as long as possible. She won’t know what to do with herself if you aren’t there to ogle at for half the day.”


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PostSubject: Re: the Swords Master's visit   Sun Mar 10, 2013 12:58 pm




Keeping his eyes closed, chin tucked into his chest so that Ari would not know just how livid he was becoming, he tried to listen to her words and be considerate of them. He let his breathing come in slow, measured breaths to stem the further frustration that filled him. Even as she took his hands into her own, sitting next to him, he only glanced back at her for the barest moment before turning his gaze down and away from her.

He couldn't help but think that she just didn't understand. He realized she wanted to help, and part of the things that she'd spoken to him, he knew to be true -perhaps that's why it all stung him. But that didn't change his situation.

Toshiro did look up then to search her gaze as the mention came of '...find the one thing that makes your life have meaning.' The thought that he had already found it, crossed his mind just then, but the weight of other things was heavy enough on him to overcome the peace held within that thought. At least for now. His heart was too deeply torn to keep him from lashing out rashly. Pulling his hands away abruptly, Toshiro adjusted himself so that he sat upright on the top step, looking directly out over the training grounds. "Well it's nice to know Evander had such a disillusioned perspective on the world. It's no wonder he could never match an intimidating stare. A man like him, who's never killed before, can only know about fantastical ideals that are great for stories but they simply don't work in real life. Swords only do one thing!"

Drawing his shirt up to where she could view the stab wound in his side again, a hard expression had been turned on her. "Tell me what is so merciful about that!? Other than death, had I held onto it. There can never be anything merciful about a blade!"

There was a pause as he breathed to calm himself again, but only briefly, "The decision to show mercy isn't always in the hands of the one who wields the sword. I only enable those who rank me by doing their dirty work. Maybe that's why Kondo told me I sold myself to the Holders when I decided not to finish my training with him. No matter how terrible people think I am, I only take life when I'm told to. Isn't it easy to forget that!?"


Toshiro turned his eyes away from her once again, "But...in the end it was still me who chose to become their villain. I think I told you that before I left."

There came a pause that brought out the confusion in him once more, and it seemed as though, through a strained, softened voice, he might be struggling not to cry again. Through the words, his jaw tightened to restrain some emotion, "But I...I didn't know it would be quite like this."

Part of all this admittance might have been an apology of sorts for having ever chosen such a path. But another part of him still thought that there was not really any other choice for him to be had; that Ariadne simply couldn't understand what he was going through and the decisions he had to make because there was more to all of this than he'd admitted to her yet.

"What the Commander said wasn't a joke. When he decides to come for me, there is nothing I can do. Even fighting without injury, there's probably little chance I could defend myself against him." Starting to stand, he made it to his feet on his own and looked back out over the training grounds.

"Anyway, if I'm going to learn whatever it is he wants me to learn by the time he gets back, it's not going to happen in the infirmary. I'll stay in the officers' barracks from now on. ...The Guard is all I have. I can't leave them. Not even for a little while."

Squaring himself to face her, he glanced down to where she was sitting, "You can tell the healers if they're worried about me, they can send someone to my room to check on me. I promise I'll take it easy." As if that was any consolation...


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PostSubject: Re: the Swords Master's visit   Sun Mar 10, 2013 1:43 pm

Ari realized quickly how angry he had become. There was no stopping the fury now. Every word he spoke just became more and more of an attack on her personally. When he got to Evander she did not cry but she visibly flinched. She didn’t think he understood what she was trying to say at all. Ariadne could have tried to reason with him but it would have been pointless. He was determined to be angry and spiteful. She had better things to do than deal with a full grown man having a temper tantrum because his father was disappointed in his actions.

She already had a two turn old; she didn’t need to deal with another. So when he finished she stood up without a word and began to walk away. Turning her head she said, “You always have a choice.” And that was all she was going to say to him. Would she tell the healers yes but she would make it quite clear that he was the one who was being difficult and she had tried to persuade him to come back to the infirmary even though she had not. There would be no persuading him.

When she was out of hearing range, she let herself cry. Ariadne had not stopped to think about her own feelings throughout this whole endeavor and now she was wondering if ignoring herself had made things that much harder now. She allowed herself to cry only for a moment longer then she forced herself to wipe the wetness from her cheeks. She did have work to do and she had to tell the others Toshiro was going to stay in the Barracks.


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PostSubject: Re: the Swords Master's visit   Sun Mar 10, 2013 2:27 pm




When Ariadne decided to turn from him and walk away, there was nothing he could do to stop her, he knew. He'd become too angry -it seemed like that was always the case. And suddenly he was made to feel the guilt of the inconsiderate words he'd spoken so rashly. The anger still present in his mind made it difficult for him to realize just how deeply he must have hurt her by saying those things.

But even such a sobering thing as watching Ariadne walk out of his life just then, was not enough to calm him. The whole turn of events only doubt himself even more. Toshiro'd spent so much of his life believing that there was only one way for him to be, that it was that much more difficult for him to see that there could possibly be any way for him to change. This existence he'd accepted for himself for so many years had been ingrained into him, every cell had a memory of anger and grief. That was something that could not easily be reversed, even if his mind was set singularly on doing so.

Yet, Ariadne had told him that surely Kondo only gave him a task he thought him capable of...and he had to let that be of some comfort to him. Toshiro didn't know what else to do.

Looking back across the yard where Ariadne had disappeared from sight, he began to feel the heartache caused by his own behaviour more keenly. Turning his back in that direction then, Toshiro's left hand rose to rest on the wall where he leaned against it, hanging his head.

Maybe it was better this way. Toshiro felt denied of so much throughout his life; he'd even been denied death. So why not this? Why not make the pain and suffering even greater? After all, what more cruel trick could there be than taking Ariadne away from him? He wasn't sure he could think of one.

No...he could. The greater trick was that he himself had driven her away, so now...he could live life not only suffering that pain, but suffer it with the utmost hatred for himself by knowing that he had been the one who'd been so cruel to her. While self-loathing crawled all over him and tried to consume him, Toshiro couldn't help but cry.




========================================================================================


Coming from the infirmary, Jungi had been on his way to check on Toshiro, having caught wind of the Commander's visit as well. Of course, he'd not yet heard all the gory details of the visit, but he figured if Toshiro was taking visitors he may as well go see him, too. Finding out though that Toshiro had caused so bit of a fuss in the infirmary, he was walking out and in the direction others had said the'd seen him go when he found Ariadne making her way back.

Staying at the Hold proper without work until the snows melted, Jungi was dressed much more finely than when he'd previously met Ariadne. Now it must have seemed that his debonair personality had an attire to match. Certainly he was no less concerned about her now than he was the last time they met. "Lady Ariadne." His nose crinkled just a bit in distaste at the tears he saw streaming down her face though she only just now tried to wipe them away.

Drawing a kerchief from the inside breast pocket of his coat, Jungi gauged her mood for just a moment before closing the distance between them so that he could offer it, pressing the square of cloth into her hand. He might have finished drying those tears for her, but he was too busy searching them for what might have happened. Brows furrowing with genuine concern, he prodded her gently for an answer, "What has happened?"


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PostSubject: Re: the Swords Master's visit   Sun Mar 10, 2013 2:59 pm


Of course she hadn’t been expecting to run into anyone. So when the finely dressed Jungi walked towards her she felt even worse for crying. The man was always so upbeat and she usually was herself. Except it seemed whenever she came across him she was in one form of distress or another.

Normally she might have insisted he drop the lady for she was only a drudge but it did make her feel better to be addressed so at the moment. Managing a small smile, she said, “Jungi, it is nice to see you.” Only it would have been nicer to see him when she wasn’t dealing with her own stupidity.

She gratefully took the handkerchief and finished wiping the tears off of her face. When she was finished she answered him. “Oh, its nothing really. I just had a falling out with a friend that’s all.” And she wasn’t going to say who and she wasn’t going to say that she had feelings beyond the bond of friendship towards the person either. Not only was she protecting herself but she was protecting Toshiro. The last thing he needed was a friend prejudiced against him because of her.

“Where are you off to in such fine clothing?” She asked as she eyed Jungi's fashionable attire. Faranth she couldn't afford anything half so nice. Traders did have the advantage of knowing how to barter and what a good deal was. He would have to dress nicely as Lord Rihan's guest.


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PostSubject: Re: the Swords Master's visit   Sun Mar 10, 2013 3:40 pm



"Hmmmm. A falling out you say?" Well, he didn't press the question any further, rather, inspected her gaze for more truth than that. Eventually though, he simply nodded, understanding she probably wasn't familiar enough with him yet to want to open up about such things.

Ariadne's comment on his attire forged a slightly embarrassed grin upon his features. "Didn't I tell you before? Being a trader has its advantages."

Jungi's grin turned lopsided as somewhat boyish features turned into the cherubic dimples of that one-sided, goofy smile as he leaned over so that his forehead nearly touched her own. One might have expected him to kiss her just then, seeing as how close he'd gotten, but that was not the case -though he did catch her eyes to gaze deeply into them. "I have to admit, I was on my way to pay Toshiro a visit. But it seems as though he's disappeared from the infirmary and now there is a distraught Lady before me. So, for now, my task is cheering you up! I can come back to visit Shiro later in the day.. Which..." And as he stood upright again, Jungi seemed to think back in memory, "reminds me that we never had the chance to enjoy the street vendor food from earlier. Would you still like to try some? I haven't in ages."

Offering his arm to her, the trader canted his head in her direction, shooting her an adorable look that must have been hard to say no to. "Come on. My treat, just as I'd promised earlier. It'll help you feel better. There's somewhere special I will take you."


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PostSubject: Re: the Swords Master's visit   Sun Mar 10, 2013 4:16 pm

She nodded, “I’d rather not talk about what happened.” In fact it would be better if she didn’t think about it till later when she was home. Right now she had things she needed to get done and worrying over what was said to her was only going to make her day worse. Then maybe it was better if she never thought about it at all.

Wasn’t that how she got here in the first place, leaving everything inside until she was hurt and had no outlet and no one who understood what was going on. Jungi was not the person to talk to about this. He was Toshiro’s friend and he had so few of them. He would need Jungi since he was in such a bad emotional state.

“Toshiro is staying in the Barracks now; he won’t be coming back to the infirmary.” She said without any intonation or emotion at all. Better to act formal about this matter. It was as she suspected, Traders were able to get their hands on some great materials cheaper than the rest of the populace. Not that Ariadne would have need of clothing that nice since she spent most of her day working.

“I really should get back to work.” She said as an excuse which Jungi was not buying. He was already compelling her to come with him a second time, “Alright. I guess they can spare me while the others clean up the mess.” She smiled again, “Where is this special place exactly?”


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PostSubject: Re: the Swords Master's visit   Sun Mar 10, 2013 5:11 pm



"Oh." Jungi already had an inkling of a feeling that the Master Healer hadn't had anything to do with that decision for Toshiro to stay elsewhere. It was likely that the Captain had put up his usual attitude and decided such a thing for himself. "Well. Shiro's never been away from the Guard, so I can't imagine it being pleasant for him. He'll be more comfortable in his own space." Offering a nod of reassurance the faint traces of a smile never left him.

Linking their arms encouragingly so that he could lead her, he began again, "When I left they were still cleaning, but if they ask later, I'll clear everything up. Not to worry." He couldn't have her getting into trouble because of him. But the Master Healer would never blame her if he knew Ari was in Jungi's presence. The Master Healer knew Jungi at least well enough to know his reputation when it came to women but also his reputation in regards to privilege about the Hold. If he got onto anyone, it would surely be Jungi, for dragging Ariadne away, and he likely wouldn't be too harsh on him if he did. Jungi had a penchant for brushing off the serious things to make them seem minimal, which made it hard for anyone to feel like they could ever get a point across to him for how care free he seemed.

Jungi shot her a sly wink, strolling off toward the nearby market district. "It's just a small shoppe. Just a few minutes away."



As they walked, Jungi made a last minute decision in stopping by a clothier's store that he knew. Stepping through the shoppe entrance, Jungi waved to the attendants within. Briefly he voiced to Ariadne, "There is something I need to buy for someone but I'm not sure how it will fit them. Could you help me? I think that person is about your size so, if you tried it on, I could buy it since we're here. It won't take but a minute." He was grinning hopefully just before he turned to the fabulous garments on display.

An attendant went to him asking if there was anything he needed help with.

"Just clear the dressing room please." It was in the back of the store and he was still being hopeful that Ariadne would help size the dresses he was picking out.

When he came back around with three semi-formal garments in hand, each styled fashionably and with great elegance, he held up one in an almost tropical, aqueous green hue to show Ariadne. "If it fits you, it should also fit my sister. Do you mind trying the whole thing on?" The dress was very slenderizing and trimmed in black lace detail. With it came little black lace gloves and stockings, and a fine pair of black satin shoes. There was also a black ribbon choker necklace with a big bow angled to the side of the front of the neck with a single black pearl drop dangled from its center where a small cameo decorated it. A similar ribbon matched for tying around the hair with a feminine bow on top.

Motioning the assistant, the store assistant was already taking those things from his hands, taking them back to the dressing room. This time he was addressing the attendant, "Assist her please. It must fit properly if I'm going to buy all three." Jungi understood well enough how self conscious women were about their appearances. The outfit would have to be perfect.


And even if Ariadne hadn't completely agreed to helping him out yet, she was being eagerly ushered to the back of the store by the attendant who wanted to make the sales. The middle-aged woman in the store's uniform dress had her hand on the small of Ari's back to press her in that direction, "Come now. Let's not keep such a nice young man waiting. This green is going to look splendid on you!" She was whispering then, "He'll fall head over heels for you when he sees you in it."



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PostSubject: Re: the Swords Master's visit   Fri Mar 15, 2013 6:19 pm


Ariadne didn’t say anything against what Jungi was saying though she felt reluctant about the situation. He wouldn’t want to be in the Guard Barracks if she had not been so honest with him with how she felt about his situation. Maybe she should have been honest about everything but then honesty hadn’t done much to help her. She kept quiet on the subject, unsure if Jungi caught her reluctance to speak of Toshiro. It was her decision not to talk about him and not to deal with any of the emotions that she should be dealing with. Later, she promised herself.

She trusted Jungi would not let her get in trouble and though she thought to continue to find excuses, she came to the conclusion it would do no good. He wanted to cheer her up, she might as well go out for a bit and clear her mind. Keeping her arm linked in his as they walked, she felt a little guilty, was she leading the man on? It wasn’t as if Jungi had no reputation among the hold women. He was not supposedly a one woman kind of guy. So should she feel any guilt really? Maybe not but Ariadne had never been one to toy with a man’s emotions. Hopefully Jungi was only being nice. “Oh okay.” She said as they continued to walk, Jungi stopping at a clothier’s shop.

At first she tried to resist politely, “Oh I don’t know. I don’t think I should touch anything in here.” The attendents however, followed Jungi’s orders and shuffled Ari inside the shop. Before she knew it, they were ushering her back into a dressing room. The clothes were all so fine compared to her normal garments. When the middle aged woman pushed her back to the dressing room completely, she realized she had no real say in this. The woman’s comments created a lump in her throat. She didn’t want Jungi to fall for her. They were better as friends. She found him amiable and kind for the most part but she knew she could never feel for him the way he might want.

What if he expected something else from her? And who would he know that needed dresses like these? She wasn’t sure this was a good idea now. However despite her inner turmoil, she had become a manikin to the women in the dressing room who had removed her other clothes and were putting her into the aqua green dress with the black lace trim. She was kind of out of it while they put it on her, but the women all seemed to agree it looked good on her.

She was going to tell them to let Jungi know it fit and take the dress off but then they had her put the shoes on and shoved her out of the dressing rooms, so that he might see what it looked like on her. Ariadne was a bit flushed from the experience and being examined did not make her feel any less flustered. She did not belong in fine clothes.


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PostSubject: Re: the Swords Master's visit   Fri Mar 15, 2013 7:13 pm



The Trader couldn't help but smile as the attendants ushered Ari into the dressing area -the smile being a bit lopsided as it were, with a single black brow arching, it all lent to an entertained expression. The man's lips pursed together as she disappeared behind curtains and he went to set the remaining things in his hands on the counter at the far side of the room. Taking his time to make his way to a small seating area with two chairs situated in front of a window, a small bowl of complimentary hard candies present, he sat to wait. Since it would take more than a minute or two for the attendant to finish dressing Ariadne up, Jungi popped one of the candies into his mouth, crossing his legs as he leaned back, glancing about the store in idle manner.


Were they done dolling her up already? Indeed. Ariadne had been thrust from the dressing room to where a full length mirror had been situated for customer use right outside the curtained off area. But the attendant hardly gave Ari a chance to view for herself as she turned the girl in the direction of the man who would be buying them.

Nearly choking on the little candy in his mouth, Jungi's hand rose to cover his mouth for a half-cough to clear his throat. Ariadne had certainly dressed up much prettier than he'd anticipated and it caught him off guard. Quickly, he finished chewing the candy and swallowed it as he got up from the chair, walking across the floor toward the two women. Considerate enough to let his eyes roam as unobtrusively as possible so that she wouldn't have to feel any more uncomfortable than he'd already made her by putting her in the situation in the first place, he came close enough to offer a few brief words of praise to the attendant and appreciate how well the green complimented Ariadne's skin and hair. Even her eyes.

"That colour does look very lovely on you." He left the compliment for Ariadne before smiling back to the attendant, at which point, Jungi made a little swirl motion of his fingertip in the air, instructing the attendant to turn Ari about so that she could admire herself in the mirror.

"Does the fit not seem just right?" Asking how the attendants present felt about the fit, while one of them commented, Jungi was already giving further instruction to the other, only paying the first woman half-attention. "Yes, that's right. For my sister. You'll have to box them and wrap them nicely. Put everything on my tab and I'll be stopping back by here soon to care for some additional business with the owner of the store."

Nodding her understanding, the second attendant went off to fulfill Jungi's request, leaving the trader to look back to Ariadne where the middle-aged woman still fussed over her, pulling at the hems and straightening the bows, continuing to make everything just perfect while Ariadne faced the mirror.

Finally, Jungi asked, "Do you like the way it looks?"


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PostSubject: Re: the Swords Master's visit   Sat Mar 16, 2013 2:25 pm


The reaction from Jungi was enough to make her feel more embarrassed in the dress. Ariadne tried not to blush even more than she already was. He looked surprised. Most of the time she wore clothes of very bland colors and course fabrics that were not what she would call form fitting, so she supposed it would be a bit surprising to see her figure in such a dress. He was speaking to the attendants remarking more on the color of the dress than any of the other obvious qualities the dress brought out in her. The mention of this being for his sister made her happy. At least she wouldn’t owe him anything.

“I have not worn anything so fine since my wedding…” She let the thought trail off. That was a few Turns ago now. The gown had been beautiful, the nicest thing she’d ever worn. Evander had saved marks upon marks for them to buy a place to live. It had been a small place but it was perfect for them. The little he had left over, combined with her own savings had bought the fine garments they wore for their wedding. There were always going to be things that sent her back to memory lane.

Jungi would not have known that he would be bringing up such a precious memory for her. A couple months ago it may have caused her to cry a little but she had been getting better about thinking and talking about her lost husband. “It is very lovely.” She said, trying to appreciate the dress for itself and not what it might represent. Ariadne thought ladies had no idea how nice they had things. The gowns they wore of the finest fabrics were soft and breathed so much better than what the drudges wore.

“Your sister will love it. The color as you say, is striking but the form of the dress is even more so. The fabric doesn’t itch at all and it is easy to move in.”


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PostSubject: Re: the Swords Master's visit   Sat Mar 16, 2013 4:02 pm



Watching Ariadne as she admired the dress, Jungi couldn't help but let his smile expand. It pleased him to Ariadne enjoying herself genuinely, and to see that someone could genuinely appreciate the great artistry of the dress. The woman before him was not one of the fake princesses that he usually ended up taking out. So, while the attendant wrapped the other two outfits purchased into pretty boxes, Jungi let his eyes similarly admire Ariadne's lovely feminine form in the dress, thinking to himself.

Eyes lifting to find her own where they were reflected in the mirror, he filled the silence by inquiring, "Another wedding will be held soon. Young Lord Rihan and his Lady Eolyn will be marrying in just a few sevendays."

As silly as it may have seemed, considering how many women he was generally around, a bit of fluster came to him as he was forced to admit, "Come to think of it, I don't even have a date to accompany me yet. Do..do you think you would like to accompany me, Ariadne?"


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PostSubject: Re: the Swords Master's visit   Sat Mar 16, 2013 4:17 pm

That was true, there would be another Wedding. The Lady Eolyn would then be here in Telgar River Hold. Ariadne liked the thought of the young Lady being here, despite the added demands of laundry, it would be nice to see the leadership of the more feminine lady over that of Lord Rihan when it came to the Household. Besides there was always so much more gossip when young ladies were about. Everything would be more interesting. And then there were the rumors that the Lord Rihan was completely besotted with his bride to be. That would be something worth seeing. She liked the idea of young love despite the arranged marriage. She truly hoped there was love there. That would keep the gossips happy. Who didn’t like a story about true love?

She let her thoughts of the wedding linger on the young lady, wondering what she looked like, what style of clothes she wore… a myriad of ideas entered her mind. The whole infirmary was hoping for babies sooner than later in the marriage. Lyria especially wanted her craft to come in come use. She’d been going on about it since she arrived and while Ariadne anticipated the new lives with great joy, she thought maybe they were all rushing things a bit. Give the young couple some time to get to know one another, then start thinking about heirs.

Since her mind was dwelling elsewhere Jungi’s question caught her off guard. “I’m surprised. I thought you would already have a few young ladies all ready for such an occasion.” She was well aware that he was a womanizer. There was nothing wrong with that really and in fact it might make it easier to accept his invitation. If nothing else, she knew he wouldn’t be breaking his heart any time soon. He was merely looking for company. The worst that could happen was she might feel a bit out of her league with him when it came to addressing the Lord and Lady at the Wedding. “I could. I mean it would be great. I’m not sure I’m of an acceptable rank to accompany you to an event that grand.” It truly was a yes bt she wanted him to think about her as she was, a drudge, nothing more.

“Besides I don’t think my Gather dress would be fine enough to stand next to you either.”


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PostSubject: Re: the Swords Master's visit   Sat Mar 16, 2013 5:30 pm



Since her mind was dwelling elsewhere Jungi’s question caught her off guard. “I’m surprised. I thought you would already have a few young ladies all ready for such an occasion.” She was well aware that he was a womanizer.

For whatever odd reason, Ariadne's own reply seemed to catch Jungi himself off guard. The young man canted his head just a bit, seeming a bit consternated. "Oh. I suppose there are several women in my life...You know how relationships are." Jungi's features then altering into a roguish limn of mischievous expression, he supposed he knew what she meant.

"The ladies of the upper echelon can be a bit fickle themselves. I guess when it comes down to it, I'm just a Trader; many of them are hoping for better marriage material than that." Of course, Ariadne had no real idea what kinds of relationships he was in with any number of women, so it was easy to give a generalization as to why he hadn't asked any of the others out just yet. And perhaps the mention of who he really was -a trader- might make her feel more comfortable in her decision to accompany him.


“Besides I don’t think my Gather dress would be fine enough to stand next to you either.”

She had him smiling again when she went on about wanting to attend with him. He was truly pleased she hadn't turned him down. Though, it was also very rarely that women turned him down for anything. She was correct though; she might feel a little uncomfortable with the company given his relationship to Rihan, but didn't that just make the entire prospect that much more exciting? Jungi liked making life exciting. So indeed, he was smiling all over again.

"The dress you have on would be fine enough to attend a wedding in. Or we can pick you out a different one." And that was the perfect big excuse he needed to buy her the dress. To cheer her up of course. The entire time they'd been in the store, he'd put on a ruse just so that he could buy her something nice to help her day turn out to be better than it seemed to be earlier. Creating the excuse of his sister was to get her in the store and trying on dresses; though his sister's birthday was coming soon, he would have had plenty of time to prepare for it otherwise. It was a stroke of luck that the wedding came up and she accepted his invitation however, because now she even had a reason other than today's outing with him to wear it if she so chose.

Of course, Ariadne was probably correct that a woman of fine breeding would be more suitable for him to attend the wedding with, but... Jungi had a particular reputation to keep up now didn't he? Not to mention, besides being carefree in regards to women, Jungi also had a reputation with being rather carefree in other aspects of his life as well, so it wouldn't be completely unexpected of him to ask Ariadne to accompany him and he didn't see Rihan being upset over such a thing.

Shortly, Jungi was wraping things up with the attendants, nodding to Ariadne that they should be on their way. "I will take you to where I promised now. I think where we are going will help you work some of those things out in your heart that are troubling you." Though Jungi didn't know what troubled her, it was a trouble close enough to her heart that she hadn't wanted to speak of it, so he thought of the best place he knew to clear ones mind and sort through things. Well, it was a good place for him anyway, and he could share. Wink

"The store attendants will have all of your work clothes and my packages delivered to the Hold where we can pick them up later."



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PostSubject: Re: the Swords Master's visit   Sat Mar 16, 2013 8:01 pm

“You know how relationships are.”

Ari answered with a very quick and decisive word which may have hinted at her behavior earlier. “Complicated.” Maybe that was why Toshiro would not acknowledge his feelings. Or maybe he wanted his freedom like Jungi. In any case she understood where Jungi was coming from with that. Who wanted to be in a relationship when they could get by without being in one? As far as Ariadne knew, relationships generally ended in being hurt. Even if the other person was no longer around to hurt you, you would still be feeling the pain nonetheless.

Ariadne could see no reason now why she couldn’t go with him. “This one will do just fine. Thank you Jungi.” She said appreciating the gesture of good will. He would be a good friend to have. Toshiro might not know how lucky he was in his friends but she did.

The dress was a fair gift in exchange for being seen with a known womanizer in a highly visible position at an important wedding. As long as he wasn’t expecting anything more than friendship from her, they would get along just fine. She’d been through enough dealing with her grief slowly and falling for a man who now seemed to hate her. She couldn’t really handle another complication.

Honesty was the best policy; she would have to have a real talk with him at the place he was taking her about where things were going to go between the two of them. No place was truly going to be able to help her sort her emotions out, although it was so kind of Jungi to think of her being down and wanting to lift her spirits. “Thank you, for being so kind to me.”

She gave a little sarcastic laugh, “No place here can give me rest from what troubles my heart.” Telgar River Hold was where she lived, where the first man she ever loved died, where her daughter lost her father before she could even know him. And now that she was making headway with her grief she found her traitorous heart leaning towards a man who might never speak to her again.


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PostSubject: Re: the Swords Master's visit   Sat Mar 16, 2013 9:19 pm



No place was truly going to be able to help her sort her emotions out, although it was so kind of Jungi to think of her being down and wanting to lift her spirits. “Thank you, for being so kind to me.”

Well, Jungi certainly hoped to challenge that theory. At least, if not reprieve from worries, then someone else to listen to help sort them all out. Often times simply having someone to listen helped a heart feel less burdened.

Leading Ariadne from the store, arms linked, he led them a distance further along the main market road before detouring through a couple of side alleys, gradually finding fewer and fewer patrons about the streets as they went. The little shoppe that he stepped up to next, had two stairs leading up and a small wood porch on the front side with an overhang to protect visitors from the weather. The small windows were opaque glass, so they couldn't be seen through, and in front of the door was a stand up sign along the street with a simple advertisement for fine herbs and tea as well as desserts. It was small and simple on the outside and a bright red curtain hung in front of the threshold, though it only measured half the length of the door, so it did not near the floor. It was as if it simply hid from view what could be inside.

Jungi stepped up to the door, sliding it open with one hand while ushering Ariadne in with the other in a courteous manner. As soon as they'd entered, one of the hostesses greeted them. And as soon as she recognized Jungi, they were greeted with a bit of warm welcome surprise. Bowing his head graciously, the trader was smiling gently, seeming just a bit bashful of their welcome. "Please. Just the usual spot. Could you bring tea for two. The usual."


The shop keep hurried off to fill the order while the hostess took them to be seated. The shoppe itself was actually half sweets and tea shoppe, half restaurant. Well..maybe not restaurant, but there were little conversational areas for customers to be seated cozily amoungst eachother while they enjoyed the tea and treats provided, if they liked. And just like the outside, the inside of the shoppe was simplistic...perhaps a little rustic feeling with only warm wood used throughout the room. But there were also aesthetically pleasing splashes of colour, as in each of the conversational alcoves provided, a small vertical painting was hung on the wall for all to view, and at the bottom of the painting, a few words to provide food for thought.



When the two of them had been led to their own private conversational area, Jungi thanked the hostess and sat himself across from Ari. Their seats were cushioned comfortably and there was nothing on the table to distract them as in most restaurants. The only distraction would have been the wall hanging, which was between them, on the wall over the table. Glancing up at the blue painting of rippling water and floating water lilies, the cool colours brought a certain peace to Jungi's own heart even without reading the words painted beneath it.

The words written there, he wanted to read aloud to her. "The thing that touches the human heart most deeply, is another human heart."

For a moment he breathed deeply, smiling softly at those words as he continued to observe the artwork. "Do you think it's true?...I do." The smile turned on Ariadne then, as he considered her in her own situation left unknown to him.

The hostess just then, came to them, placing a mixture of powdered tea between them and a couple of cups for them to drink from; as well as a pot of hot water and tools to blend the tea with. A small plate of sweet candies had been brought along with it and set aside everything else.

Again bowing graciously to the hostess, Jungi's attention turned to the table where the tea had been left. As soon as the hostess had left them, the trader reached for the tea blend and tools to scoop and mix the powder into the water with. "When I was very young and all the adults drank tea like this I never understood it."

Allowing himself to reminisce a bit, he was smiling again. The small scoop spoon was used by his hand to add the powdered tea into the hot water and then another utensil was used to blend it in a way that Jungi performed almost ceremoniously, it had been done so many times before. With great care, he poured the very bitter blend into the first tea cup, then setting the kettle down.

Taking that tea cup and handing it across the table so that Ariadne could take it from his hands and drink it, he continued. "As a child, I never understood that the act of preparing a drink and allowing ourselves to graciously offer it to another could be so significant. And in the same way, allowing others to do the same for you. The preparation of tea and serving others can teach us a lot about our lives.

"Though," Jungi created a completely bemused expression of his face, "the thing I understood the least, was how anyone could make themselves actually drink it. The tea is very bitter. That is why they serve candy with it." He was laughing and smiling at that, watching as Ari might take her first sip.

"But it's good for you, the tea is. And now that I am older, I have finally realized why that is.." As he spoke the words, he looked across the table at Ariadne, finding her eyes so that he could meet them. "Well, there are many good qualities about it but, most of all, the bitterness itself is its finest quality."

Pouring for himself a cup of tea he went on, "I have realized that bitterness can be good for you -like love. Sometimes things happen that are hurtful, but after tasting the bitterness, we can learn, or change, or grow. Bitterness is unpleasant at first, but if we let it, it can cure all sorts of ills."

Jungi quickly took several gulps of tea to finish what was in his cup before setting the cup back down. He was smiling up at Ari again when he snatched up a couple of the small sweets from the dish between them, putting them in his mouth.

"That is why I come here. To taste the bitterness in a different way. To see things from the perspective of a more gracious heart... so that I can learn from the bitterness what I should."



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PostSubject: Re: the Swords Master's visit   Mon Mar 18, 2013 7:41 pm


Ariadne looked around curiously when they entered the shoppe or was it a restaurant? It must be a little of both which was strange to her. She watched everything as they were led to Jungi's usual spot. Tea? She didn't generally drink tea but not because she didn't like it. Tea took time to drink and to make and it was not something she had a lot of being a single mother and working and then having to deal with her family. Of course lately she'd been neglecting some of her mommy duties to help Toshiro.

The saying did ring true to her. "Yes but I think sometimes people don't want their heart to be touched at all because they would rather believe they cannot feel love." And perhaps that came out a bit accusingly but it was not directed at Jungi.

His story about the tea made her smile. Children were never all that fond of bitter foods. He learned something from it though and it seemed to give him a perspective on the world not everyone had. The speech about bitterness being necessary in order to over come it did not sit right with her. Ariadne didn't know why it made her angry at first.

She didn't say anything at all for a long while. It probably felt awkward to Jungi but better her think things through and not lash out angrily for apparently no reason. She was only upset because she missed Evander and she felt like although she wanted to move on that perhaps she wasn't truly ready. Maybe it wasn't that though, maybe she was afraid to be in love again? Even if she were, Toshiro wouldn't want anything from her now so what was the point in pursuing it.

She gave Jungi a sad, smile, "You've never been in love." At least not truly in love. No she wasn't saying she was in love at the moment but she had been before. Even if she had feelings, she wasn't going to admit them to anyone. Her thoughts from earlier still weighed on her.


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PostSubject: Re: the Swords Master's visit   Tue Mar 19, 2013 12:12 pm

The saying did ring true to her. "Yes but I think sometimes people don't want their heart to be touched at all because they would rather believe they cannot feel love." And perhaps that came out a bit accusingly but it was not directed at Jungi.

The way she spoke, Jungi understood that the statement was directed at another. Perhaps the person she was feeling conflicted about? Jungi took another candy into his mouth as he was patient and listened to her.


She gave Jungi a sad, smile, "You've never been in love." At least not truly in love.

Being as unassuming as he was, Jungi let her say what she needed to say and he would not put up any debate. That's not why he had brought her here. The trader had turns of experience engaging people in all sorts of conversation -that was part of his job. So, he was adept at leading conversation, adept at reading most people and from turns of experience throughout his travels and throughout his escapades with many women, he had taken away from it all a good understanding of people. Perhaps Jungi had never been truly deeply in love. Perhaps Ari was right about that. But because of his job and because he was a player of sorts, sometimes he felt as though he understood love more from his own perspective than most people could claim. He knew love could come in many forms and had various expressions. He had seen it in all its falsehoods, too.


After a moment, when Ariadne said no more, Jungi met her smile with one of deep warmth. "Let's get something to eat." He was gesturing tot he hostess and requested some food for their table. Though they were a tea and sweets shop, the family lived above the shopso there was always food, and they would do Jungi that much favour, so the woman left to prepare dishes for them.

When she'd gone, Jungi met Ariadne's gaze again, making his suggestion in a tone of voice that was not only unassuming but expressed the same steady patience he'd been trying to offer her all along. "I don't know yet what troubles you, but...if its too much to hold your feelings in, then confide them in me."


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